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    Family photographs and dating and fashion

    Photographs of Victorian, Edwardian and 20th century ladies sorted by year 1860 to 1930 4.

    Photographs of people arranged by year 1860 to 1915 People by Year 5.

    Dress details may provide additional information, such as the social status of the wearer, their occupation, and sometimes their location or region.

    The details need to be compared with fashionable dress of a given date, and then subtle judgments may be made, or additional data supplied through knowledge of the family tree, the photographer's name and address, or the nature of other contributory details such as studio props., or buildings and vehicles included.

    In today’s blog article, I’m following up on this topic of how earlier fashion trends found in old newspapers can help you date an old, undated photograph by focusing on hats.

    This is an important determination, as it can eliminate relatives not from that time period as possible candidates for the people in the photo.

    Knowledge of the history of photography in terms of various processes and their dates of introduction, styles of image produced such as the carte-de-visite, and the size of images most popular at different times, can also be brought to bear.

    These combined factors can usually be combined to allow the dress historian to arrive at a close approximate dating for any given photograph featuring people in clothes.

    Group carte-de-visite mid 1880s (c1883-7)There might be a considerable time lag before London fashions reached the provinces, and older people, while picking up on the contemporary silhouette or material in their dress style, might retain some fashion features and hairstyles from their youth.

    Changes in men's fashions have generally been more subtle, and less sensational than women's, and photographs of even the most well-to-do gentlemen are therefore far more difficult to date accurately by dress alone.

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